Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad
Faglavik, Sweden, June 4, 1870 – Rome, April 24, 1957
Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad was born in the village of Faglavik, Sweden on June 4, 1870, to a Lutheran family. At seventeen, she sailed for New York to seek employment, but once arriving there was hospitalized in an institution for the terinally ill. She prayed, If the Lord heals me, I will become a nurse. Elizabeth recovered, and was taken to Roosevelt Hospital. Her conversion was a reon August 15, 1902, she received baptism in the Catholic Church. In 1903, she went to Rome where she discovered the house of Saint Brigida, Piazza Farnese and realized that the Lord was calling her for a special mission. Undertaking a series of trips to Europe to make known her intention to resurrect the Order of St. Bridget, which numbered few who were scattered. Encouraged by S. Pius X, in 1911 she was able to begin her work, which was finally approved in 1940. Mother Elizabeth died in Rome at age 87, on April 24, 1957. An extraordinary pioneer of ecumenical dialogue, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 9, 2000.
Roman Martyrology: At Rome, beta Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad, virgin, who, originating from Sweden, after having long served in a hospital, reformed the Order of St. Bridget, focusing in particular on contemplation, charity towards the needy and Christian unity.
She was born in Sweden, June 4, 1870, the fifth of thirteen children. She was Lutheran, and at 18 emigrated to America to help her family economically. Here she lived many years (1888-1904) a diligent nurse at Roosevelt Hospital in New York, where, in contact with suffering and illness related to her human sensitivity and spiritual meeting those of her fellows in the Order of Saint Bridget. Fin dall’adolescenza his research was the desire of The Ovile. So she described her anxiety in her memoir.
“As a child, going to school I saw that my companions belonged to many different churches, I began to wonder what was the true Church, because I had read in the New Testament that there would be one sheepfold and one shepherd. I prayed often to be conducted at that sheepfold and the memory of having done it especially on an occasion when, while walking under the big pines in my native country, especially I looked skyward and said: Dear Father, who art in heaven, where is the sheepfold where You want us all together. I thought that a great peace came into my soul and a voice respond to me: O, my daughter, one day we’ll show you. This security accompanied me in all the years that preceded my entry into the Church. “
Led by a learned Jesuit, she passionately studied Catholic doctrine and, with thoughtful choice, she accepted, becoming baptized on the day of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1902 in the U.S. Describing the time that preceded this step into the Catholic Church she wrote: “Some months passed during which my soul was steeped in agony that I thought would end this life. But the light came, and with it the strength. Therefore I prayed: “O God, lead light sweet” and actually I was given a sympathetic light and with it a profound peace and a firm decision to make the step immediately and become part of the true Church of God Oh! longed to be outwardly that which I was a long time inside of my heart and I wrote to my friend immediately at the Convent of the Visitation in Washington: “Now I see everything clearly, all my doubts have disappeared, I immediately will become the daughter of the true Church, and you’ll need to be my godmother … Pray for me and thanked God and the Blessed Virgin. “
In the spring of 1903, Mary Elizabeth was at home in Sweden and before leaving for America to return to grandmother wrote the following verses:
“I adore you, a great miracle of the heaven
What me spiritual food habit in the ground!
You console me in my dark moments.
When any hope for me off!.
At the Heart of Jesus at the altar balustrade
I will be forever linked in love. ”
In 1904 she went to Rome and, with a special permission of Pope St. Pius X, took the Brigittine dress in the house of Saint Bridget, which was then occupied by Carmelite nuns. Before departure she sent for his sister Eva a story of her life in the form of prayer: “In my childhood I saw you in the deep woods of my country and I heard your voice in the whisper of the plan and of the Abbot. You saw in my early childhood when the mineral broke resonating in the mountains of Norrland you drove … You my life on the great ocean … I saw you in my new country: abandonment and solitude of the heart. I was close. You were my greatest good ! You ascended in my mind the desire of the good, the desire to alleviate suffering, pain and misery … You walked with me in the dark and narrow streets where they live Thy youngest and most forgotten … I dreamed of a return to my home country, a “House of Peace” in my sweet home, but your voice calls me eternally to Rome – the home of St. Bridget … The fight was great and difficult, but your voice exhorting me. Lord, take this cup from me, that is not mine without your will. pierced Your hands have tended to me to urge you to follow the path of the Cross until the end of life. Ecce ancilla Domini. “Lord, please me what you want. I need your grace. “
Behind the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, she reconstituted the Order of Saint Bridget in 1911, responding to requests and to the signs of the times, and remaining faithful to Brigittine tradition for the contemplative nature and the solemn celebration of the liturgy. Her apostolate was inspired by the great ideal “Ut omnes unum sint” and this led to the giving her life to God to unite Sweden in Rome.
On August 4, 1912 in the midst of great trials of the beginning of its foundation she wrote: “The hurricane of the enemy is big but my hope is all the more firm that one day everything will be alright. To the Cross at the light! What you sow in tears gather in joy. And our dear Lord has said: “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in their midst.” This we say to him so that he sub to what is lacking in us and around us for the fulfillment of the vocation to which we have so unworthy as we are called.
With great courage and foresight in 1923 she reported the daughters of St. Bridget in Sweden. The physical suffering accompanied throughout her life. The chronicle of these years gives these words to her daughters: “You see, the doctor does not understand that I have a reason to suffer and give my punishments, I would like, if the Lord accepts them, to offer all my suffering and penalties for this activity and for Sweden. “
In 1936 to a daughter in trouble was sent these words: “… Our life is a life of sacrifice in the service of God The sacrifice is against our nature – the attractions of the world with its satisfactions we attract – but as you already know, our life is a life of sacrifice that gives us not only that inner peace, but that we can find joy in the Lord. But to get to this Act, the giving of ourselves to God must be complete and unshakable . Not just a part of my business, do not just part of my desires! Not just a part of my love! No, Lord, even a thought that is not for your glory is far from me, and my heart beats are expressions of my love for you, so also my desire is to be a sacrifice of myself in your service for the salvation of men, as you want, not as I like. So think a bride of Jesus … “
Her whole life was marked by a continuous charity. During the Second World War she gave refuge to many Jews who were persecuted and turned her home into a place where his daughters could distribute food and clothing to those who were in need. In a letter to her sister Eva she wrote: “… we live down here in very difficult conditions, but the Providence of God helps us in many wonderful ways. We still have a house full of refugees, this affliction in 1944.”
On April 24, 1957 after a long life marked by suffering from the disease she died in the house of Santa Brigida in Rome, leaving behind a great reputation for holiness among her spiritual children, the clergy and among the poor and simple people, who venerate the Mother of the Poor and Mistress of the spirit.
Source: Santi e Beati